Weekly Challenge: Speak life.
Last week I heard a profound saying that I believe can change our interactions with one another: "Our words create worlds for other people." How life-altering is that knowledge once we understand the power we hold! Instantly, I asked myself, what worlds am I creating? Am I using my words to empower others? Am I using my words to inspire others? Am I using my words to show people I believe in them? Or, am I using my words to demean others? Am I using my words in a way that makes others feel insecure? Am I creating worlds for my loved ones where they feel unloved? Words are extremely potent and we can use them for someone's benefit or detriment, our choice. The Bible says that what our tongue speaks comes from the heart (Matthew 15:18). I challenge you, alongside me, to aspire to get your heart in the right place before speaking this week. Create worlds for others where they feel blessed, treasured, supported, and above all, loved.
TobyMac's song Speak Life is a perfect companion to this week's challenge. Good luck!
Weekly Challenge: Create set times to pray each day, and hold true to this schedule.
As I've been trying to walk closer in my relationship with Christ, I often feel God's nudge about areas in my life that need some revamping. Lately, he's put it on my heart to focus on my prayer life. I've come to discover that it's the most significant way we can affect our lives and the lives of others.
I first felt the need to step up my praying when I found out I was pregnant with Adeline. All of the sudden there was someone who desperately needed my prayers, and she was growing inside of me. I know most of the prayers I send up for her will not "pay off" until much later in her life, God willing, but the longevity of these prayers does not distract me. In the world that currently consumes us, it's an understatement to say that rearing a child is frightening. Thankfully there's a place I can go that brings me comfort - on my knees in communion with Christ.
Although we sometimes get to witness the power of prayer in our answered requests, it can be frustrating when we don't see God acting (as we want Him to and when we want Him to). Wisely stated by one of the pastors at our church in El Paso, "If you're not praying up you're giving up." God calls us to pray day AND night (Luke 18:7). We may feel at times that our prayers are going unanswered and wonder if He is listening. Scripture tells us that He is (Psalm 66:19-20), and we must remain in prayer (Luke 18:1), trusting His will (Psalm 62:8). If our prayers were answered immediately, our focus would no longer be on the Blesser, but the blessing. One of the beautiful outcomes that results from waiting in prayer is the reminder that He is the source of the answer. Staying resilient in prayer helps us to clarify our desires and draws us closer to God. Just as our connections with people deepen through each interaction, so is true with our communion with the Lord. I find peace in knowing that whatever He is allowing in my life will work for good and has a purpose. All I can do is pray and trust.
So, how do you jump start your prayer life? I began by typing up a prayer list of all my requests and praises and started each morning going through my list with God. Of course, once Adeline was born that schedule changed, but in the nine months I prayed that way I checked off prayer after prayer that God answered (what a joyous feeling!). Once Addie appeared and there no longer was a start to my day, only living in two hour increments instead of the typical 24-hour day, I started to pray during each of her feedings. It was a wonderful way to increase my bond with her and Christ at the same time. So, an easy way to focus on your prayer life is to find a quiet time that already exists and fill it with prayer - maybe that's in the shower, in the car, or before you go to bed. Another idea my husband and I implemented, from the guidance of Dr. James Dobson's devotional email, is daily prayer with a partner; the accountability and intimacy gained from our partnership in prayer anchors my relationship with both Tim and Our Father.
Please leave a comment telling us how YOU include prayer in YOUR life.
I'm Ashley Ashcraft,
a military wife and
stay-at-home mama, earnestly seeking the Christ-like life. I invite you to walk alongside me in my quest to raise our children and join the antics of our unpredictable military lifestyle. I pray your heart feels rejuvenated and inspired each time you visit OFH!